- Emotions Can Be Defined: Reducing emotions to nothing more than the results of chemicals means that emotions we have now can be more clearly defined (although accuracy is not necessarily considered in that definition)
- Emotions Can Be Controlled: Because emotions are supposedly more defined and understood it gives people the sense of control over them. Now we have routines, exercises, and medications that utilize this additional knowledge in order to control emotions and achieve desired outcomes.
- Emotions Can Be Rationalized: Finally, because emotions are nothing more than a few chemicals, they can be rationalized away.
- It Ignores Complexity: The mindset ignores the fact that humans are complex beings full of many parts, including a body, mind, and soul and it fails to consider how each of those parts can play a part into emotions.
- It Ignores Science: Interestingly, such a mindset ignores evolution, which is considered one of the key facets to modern science. It does this because it makes evolution responsible for those chemical reactions and adds a layer of discord to the probability that random chance could construct humans in the ‘perfect’ way.
- It Ignores God & God’s Character: It should go without saying that the whole discussion ignores God. It dismisses God as creator and author of lives, however it goes further by denying the very essence of God’s character (as moral, just, good, etc.).
- Takes Away Responsibility: First, it takes away a person’s individual responsibility for his or her emotions. Instead, the excuse is made that the person cannot control his or her emotions because they are just a matter of chemicals not being correct (and we could add to that the excuse that the medication is simply not working if the person is taking any).
- Takes Away Meaning: It takes away the meaning and significance of our emotions. If love is a matter of the chemicals in our brain, then love doesn’t really matter in our society does it? The same could then be said of hatred as well.
- Takes Away Goodness: Finally, it simply takes away the goodness that come with emotions. Responding with emotions without the influence of rationality can be bad, but emotions themselves are not necessarily without goodness, especially since they come from a God who is good.
To claim that our emotions are simply a matter of chemical imbalances has severe implications, most notably it takes the burden of responsibility away from individuals (something we seek to do often these days). It reminds us of the need to be cautious in which claims we accept in light of a biblical worldview. It also causes us to question, as Christians, what do we do? The answer to that question comes next week in part two.
Photo “Trust No Emotion” courtesy of user Jeremy Brooks and Flickr.